BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Chinese community in Brunei ushered in the Lunar New Year on Tuesday with colourful celebrations at Teng Yun Temple.
Crowds gathered as early as 7am to welcome the Year of the Pig and watch two lion dance performances staged by troupes from Chung Hwa Middle School.
The most important event in the Chinese calendar, celebrants traditionally begin by paying respects to their ancestors, by burning joss paper and incense at the temple to pray for good health, prosperity and peace.
Chinese families also hold a reunion dinner on the eve of the new year, and conduct a thorough spring cleaning to sweep away any ill fortune and make way for incoming good luck.
The annual lion dance at the temple is popular with Bruneians from all walks of life, while the Chinese believe the dance brings prosperity and good fortune, while the the lion symbolises power and wisdom.
The dance is accompanied by the music of beating drums, clashing cymbals and gongs, while the “lion” imitates various movements from Chinese martial arts.
The event attracts hundreds of people every year, including photography enthusiasts, tourists and prominent members of the Chinese community.
Most Chinese businesses will close for several days so staff can participate in the festivities, which includes visiting friends’ and relatives’ houses, giving “ang pow” and lighting paper lanterns.
Festivities for the Lunar New Year traditionally last for 15 days, until the first full moon after the Spring Festival. Lanterns are usually lit and released into the sky to symbolise the end of the festive period.
Want to see the whole thing in motion? Check out this video we did for Chinese New Year in 2018: